As you’ve probably heard, there’s a live-action version of the classic manga The Ghost in the Shell with Scarlett Johansson coming next year, and now the first teasers have arrived.
The spots, which initially aired during tonight’s Mr. Robot season finale, are glitchy and weird; impressionistic moments rather than traditional teasers. (As somebody that grew up on ‘90s visions of our inevitable cyberpunk future, it’s an aesthetic I happen to personally enjoy. The only shame is that Ralph Fiennes isn’t around to sling some black market MiniDisc memories.)
Stylish teasers can't whitewash its whitewashing
Of course, stylized teasers can’t erase the one thing that has undeniably defined the new version of Ghost in the Shell thus far: its casting controversy. When it was first announced that Scarlett Johansson would be starring in the film, there was concern among fans that a white actor was taking the lead role in a story that is considered quintessentially Japanese. When the first still photo from the film showing Johansson appeared, the concerns over the film's whitewashing only intensified.
The series of teasers, which replicate some familiar frames for fans of the series, won’t do anything to change that. The film — and its treatment of race — will ultimately be judged on its own merits (or failings), no matter how many shots we get of Johansson pulling a cable out of her head. But they do provide a sense of what director Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) is going for aesthetically, and in that regard it’s clear that the new Ghost in the Shell is aiming for some very familiar territory.
(But seriously, how great was Strange Days?)